Seagram sells $1.4bn stake
Friday 30 May 1997
The sale of 30 million Time Warner shares, which was handled by Merrill Lynch, was one of the largest-ever single sales of stock. A spokesman for Seagram said the cash would be used for "corporate purposes", including repayment of debt and share repurchases.
However, several analysts interpreted the statement as a signal that Seagram was looking to acquire. It is possible the company may try to buy out Viacom's 50 per cent share of USA Network, the cable television outfit currently split between Viacom and Seagram.
Purchasing USA Network - which consists of the USA Network, a popular cable channel, as well as the much smaller Sci-Fi channel - would give Seagram the opportunity to have its own television outlet tied to its film empire, Universal Studios.
The beverage giant picked an opportune moment to sell the stock, which reached a record high of $49.13 just over a week ago. Seagram is to retain 26.8 million Time Warner shares for 120 days, but it is thought these may also be disposed.
After announcing the sale, Seagram's president, Edgar Bronfman Jr, said: "Given the recent price improvement in Time Warner stock, we believe this was an appropriate time to reduce the size of our holdings."
Time Warner will not be unduly perturbed by the slow exit of Seagram, which is a strong rival in the entertainment industry. The company, headed by Gerald Levin, will also welcome the fact that the stock is being sold to institutional investors rather than to any single buyer with potential takeover ambitions.
Yesterday's events revived rumours that Seagram may try to expand its drinks portfolio in response to the planned merger between Grand Metropolitan and Guinness.
- 1 Home Office says Nigerian asylum-seeker can’t be a lesbian as she’s got children
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 4 Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway amid dense fog
- 5 Apple and Google users being spied on for a decade because of 'Freak' security flaw
The City of the Monkey God: Archaeologists claim to have found city lost for 1,000 years in remote Honduran jungle
Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway amid dense fog
Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
London property boom built on dirty money
Becky Watts: Stepbrother and his girlfriend named locally as two arrested on suspicion of murder
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
iJobs Money & Business
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...
Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...
£36,000 - £40,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity a...
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...